Computer Data Backup - Data Backup Strategy
For numerous individuals, computers have become an everyday essential. We use them for work, for correspondence
and for pleasure. However, many of the files on those computers are important documents and losing them would cost
us in time, money and stress. Having a data backup strategy is the best way to avoid their permanent loss. Don't
make the mistake of believing that making a computer data backup is exclusively for computer geeks or big
corporations, or a job that can be performed 'when I get around to it'. On the contrary, computer data backups are
a necessity for everybody.
Even if your computer has been running without problems for years, it will fail one day - either by way of virus
attack, user error or just old age. When that day comes, one of two things will happen. You will either suffer the
misery that comes with losing financial data, passwords, music collections, personal photographs and all the
software that you've bought over the years. Or, you can service or replace the computer and restore your data from
the backups you've been making on a regular basis. The latter is an aggravation, the first a catastrophe.
There are an infinite range of ways to lose data. In addition to hardware failure, computers can be destroyed in
fires or floods. Hard Disc drives can be damaged by electrical surges caused by lightning strikes or data lost by a
child randomly hitting the keyboard. Viruses can infect systems and delete data on hard drives.
But there's only one way to get it back - by having it available to be restored.
For the normal computer user, it is usually not essential to backup each and every file on their computer as
this would require a large amount of storage space. But at a bare minimum home users should backup personal files
and documents plus irreplaceable software. Spreadsheets with financial records not readily obtainable from other
sources, legal documents, work-in-progress... the list goes on.
The simplest way to do backups is to use the data backup software that comes with the computer operating system.
Windows has a free, usable backup program while equivalent programs are available for Mac, Linux and other
operating systems. The software is easy to use and backing up is an easy matter of selecting which folders to
backup and pressing go. It even has a scheduler so backups can be automated to take place at suitable times.
For a modest cost, data backup software can be bought that will only backup files changed since a particular
date, or since the last backup. Alternatively, new files could be copied everyday to a backup folder where they can
be backed-up by your backup program. To ease the job of identifying which, use the Search option to list files
'newer than X'. Once the list is complete, copy them into the backup folder and run the program for just that
Some data, such as emails are a little more difficult to protect. Some email programs can be configured to
maintain copies of received and sent emails on the email server. When that is not an option, most can export
messages to a file, which can then be backed up.
Backups can be done to any kind of removable media - writeable CD's/DVD's, removable hard drives or even the
more recent 'keychain' devices that plug into a USB port. Of course, floppy disks can still be used for backup
provided that your computer comes equipped with a disk drive. Documents usually take a small amount of space. Just
set aside 7 disks and revolve them from day to day
Daily computer data backups are yet another job to do in our busy daily lives, but the day you lose that file
you need and cannot restore, you are going to be a whole lot busier.